IEC allays fears over ballot paper
The Independent electoral Commission (IEC) has reassured the nation about the security of the ballot paper following concerns it had “suspicious marks” over it, which could have been an attempt to rig the 28 February poll.
Advance-voting had to be suspended for three hours at Maseru Sun Cabanas Poling Station last Saturday after an early voter had complained about the “marks”.
however, voting later continued after Station Manager Thato Moeti and IEC officials had explained that these were security features meant to safeguard the vote.
But some of the voters were still not convinced about the explanation, which was reiterated by Acting Director of elections, Pontšo ’Mamatlere Matete, yesterday.
“The IEC notifies all people engaged in the 2015 National Assembly elections that one of the security features surrounding the ballot papers is somewhat visible on each of the ballot papers, especially against candidates who are 9th on the listed ballot page.
“This should not be a deterrent to voting as the electors could still use black-inked pen to mark their votes or puncture against their desired candidates, using the provided puncture in all voting kits and stations.
“We profoundly apologise for the inconvenience caused by this aberration and hope that the elections will run as smoothly as anticipated.”
According to Ms Matete, IEC officials became aware of the marks when the voter complained last Saturday.
“Suspicion over the security feature marks arose during the advancevoting last Saturday when one of the voters complained about this issue. It was then that we became aware that all the ballot papers had similar marks.
“In every box aligned to the 9th candidate on the ballot paper, there is this blue mark stretching into the box as if a vote has already been made. however, it is very small and should be disregarded.” A TOTAL of 1,209,170 people are expected to cast their votes on Saturday as Basotho choose members of the 9th National Assembly.
Voting starts at 7 am and closes at 5pm at 2792 polling stations in the 80 constituencies being contested, with the Independent electoral Commission (IEC) expected to start announcing the results in the early hours of Sunday.
Twenty-three political parties and 1116 candidates are taking part in the election, which is being held two years ahead of schedule due to the collapse of the coalition government
A total of 23 political parties are fielding candidates in the 80 constituencies’ up-for-grabs in the poll which comes two years early due to the collapse of the All Basotho Convention, lesotho Congress for Democracy and Basotho National Party government.
LCD leader and deputy prime minister, Mothetjoa Metsing, accused his ABC counterpart—prime Minister Thomas Thabane—of not consulting him and BNP leader Thesele ‘Maseribane when making key decisions, with the situation deteriorating into open warfare, prompting mediation by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which resulted in Saturday’s elections. led by Prime Minister Thomas Thabane.
IEC chairperson, Mahapela lehohla, said the results would be announced from the election Centre located at Maseru Sun hotel.
Mr lehohla added: “We have about 600 national election observers, about 500 international observers, and 13 international and 22 local media houses covering the 28 February 2015 general elections,” said Justice lehohla.
“The Commission will provide regular updates regarding the elections.”
It is expected all the results would have been announced by Tuesday.
The marks are on both of this ballot papers (but different costituencies).